Tuesday, 21 June 2011

This time last year ...

I have been in bed for an hour but just could not sleep. I have had a busy, productive and enjoyable day. Maybe I haven't relaxed enough and why now I can't 'switch off' so I decided to get up again! I had a long chat to Mum who was concerned that I was upset as the last few blogs have been a bit down and no posting today! My reason - too busy.

I was up, showered, presentable all by 9 a.m. this morning and in my office. I had various things to sort as regards Clive's estate and just 'got on'. Dealing with such things does upset me but it has to be done. I have to remind myself of his advice when faced by a challenge -' It's happened - deal with it.'

Mid-morning I had a visit from his nephew Nick, baby Teagan, partner Sharon and Dad Tony. I had the photos and DVD Dom had made at Teagan's christening for them. A baby cuddle always cheers me up! I had a lovely few minutes with her gazing at our reflections in the lounge mirror. Clive would have been very proud to see Nick as a father.

Me, Malcolm, Lynn and baby Teagan
I then spent time preparing my talk for student midwives in Nottingham and being busy and organised. Yet suddenly a wave of  'too much to do' hit me. I was on the verge of tears but decided to change my thinking and move, so I had a walk to post my letters. The warm sunshine soothed me. Walking on paths I had been on many times with Clive made me smile today. I thought of him trying but failing to run along the pavement last summer when we had forgotten our tickets for the races in York and he'd gone back for them whilst I waited at the bus stop. He had admitted then that his knees were shot at.

Next 'feel good' factor was a fish finger sandwich for lunch! My weight is creeping back up but I don't want it to. Today maybe wasn't a good day to count calories.

I returned to the office and buzzed for a few more hours, sorting my talk for Friday in Leeds. Then I had very pleasant hour in the back garden with a new friend who had called to collect something from me.

Within minutes our friends Nip and Ellie came with a McDonalds for tea! No wonder I feel stuffed tonight! It was really good to chat with them. A tree has been planted in memory of Clive at one of the golf courses. His golfing chums pay their respects when they play - cheers, guys - he'd love that!

By the time they left it was almost dark and I had a quick neighbourly chat.  I answered a few of hundreds of emails and decided that those sent after 10.30 are far too sad so switched off! Then had my chat with Mum. That was today!

I snuggled into bed and reflected on today. Yes, I feel stronger. Yes, little by little I am making progress. I am meeting new people and part of me is very excited about my new future. The other part remains so sad, lost, broken hearted and robbed of my man. Perhaps this is why I can't sleep?

After half an hour of just laying in the darkness I chose to read my journal for 'this time last year'.
It made me smile and glow with appreciation for the romance we had. Clive had been on a Richmond Events mini-cruise, showcasing to HR directors. He had returned triumphant with amazing feedback. I helped him with 'follow-ups' and putting his new contacts on our database.

Yet the memory which really made me smile was his worry this equivalent night last year. He had been so confident with his corporate audiences days earlier but was looking forward to a session with school children in Northwich the next day until he realised they were 6 year olds! Bless him! He was almost pacing the floor! What would he do with them? Would they listen? Could he use Powerpoint? How many would there be?

I was quietly amused as a teacher! He had seen me in a similar frame of mind about some corporate audiences and he'd reassured me 'piece of cake'. My turn to say 'ditto'. Constructively I suggested 'props' and appealing to their senses. What about taking his huge boots and duvet jacket for them to try on? His sand and sweat stained MDS T-shirt from his desert race? I could see his mind racing and it was him who was restless all that night.

He left with the car bulging with 'stuff'. I was 'with him' in spirit all day. When he arrived back he was on a complete high! Clive had taken his new toy from the ship with him. What had transpired was on a theme of bullying - he converted a whole class to face it with this in mind .....

He'd had them dancing on tables! I was so proud of him and adored seeing his reaction to the children. It was a privilege to be at home waiting for him to share his enthusiasm.

In a way that is what has happened to me in recent weeks. Here is another testimonial today from Russell who heard me speak at the IAPH conference:-

‘I would like to say that I really enjoyed Elaine’s speech about her life and the inspirational changes she has made. What struck me was how she was prepared to ‘lay herself bare’ on an emotional front and told her story ‘warts and all’! Here is what I saw as an ‘ordinary’ lady and she has taken a life trauma and turned it into a positive and used this to help others and to inspire! I am writing a book myself and also considered writing another book on my own life trauma so this has given me the extra inspiration to really go for it!’

I can't share that with Clive directly but I know he'd hug me proudly.

So what have I learned today?
  • That I can work and focus well
  • That a walk is a good tonic from feeling overwhelmed
  • That although my grief remains there is a strength and excitement in me emerging
  • That memories can make me smile 
  • That other people are so important to me
My questions for you:-
  • Who can you help support with a challenge? 
  • And will you be there to share their success and celebrate it?
  • Do you recognise and celebrate your own successes, no matter how small?
Tonight I have made a BIG step. I have turned my Greatvine advice telephone back on. I feel ready to help others in their hour of need again. Originally Clive had suggested that I am available only 'office hours'. Now perhaps I can help those in need of an empathetic ear at any time I am not otherwise occupied.

Now that IS progress - well done me!

Nite nite,

Elaine x

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